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UN World Refugee Day; June 20, 2023

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By Mercy Kelani

Celebration of this day is to recognize the strength and hardship of refugees.

Annually, on June 20, World Refugee Day (WRD) is commemorated as an international day by the United Nations (UN). The purpose of its commemoration is for celebrating and honoring refugees across the globe. Its first establishment was on June 20, 2001 to recognize the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. The event is focused on recognition of the strength of the refugees who have escaped the conflict and persecution of their country with the hope of finding shelter and living a better life elsewhere.

WRD provides a concept for understanding the plight of refugees which reveals their resilience and courage in restructuring their future. On this day, the rich diversity of the refugees’ communities is experienced, understood and celebrated all over the world. Refugee community organizations, local councils, voluntary and statutory organizations, and schools are allowed to host events such as dance, music, Theatre and films during the week for the purpose of honoring the cause and providing asylum seekers a chance to be seen, listened to and valued by the community they live in.

OAU used to celebrate African Refugee Day before 2000.

On December 4, 2000, the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 55/76 asserted that from 2001 onwards, June 20 would be designated as World Refugee Day. Prior to 2000, several countries had formally celebrated African Refugee Day. The Organization of African Unity (OAU), according to the UN, had agreed to the coincidence of International Refugee Day with Africa Refugee Day on June 20. The UN continues to work together with the community to put an end to the refugee crisis and find shelter for displaced people across the world.

The UN General Assembly, upon the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations’ Office, made a resolution that specifically focuses on catering for the refugees and World Refugee. Also, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 recognizes the right of a person to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. The UN protocol affirmed that they will equally be allowed the principles that they will not face discrimination regarding their age, sex, sexuality, disability or other grounds of discrimination that has been prohibited.

Majority of refugees contribute to the security & revenue of host country.

A refugee is a person who leaves their country due to the consequences of war, violence and conflict persecutions that they have experienced within their home country. Through the process of crossing international borders, some refugees leave everything behind but their minimal clothing and possessions to find shelter and safety in a different country. According to the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is an individual who cannot return to their home country for the fear of being affected by their Religion, race or participation of a social group.

Refugees have an impact on the globe as when they are permitted access to the legal employment opportunities in their host country, their knowledge is utilized for filling the gap of the labour market of a country. With their inclusion in society, there is a creation of a more diversified Culture and multiculturalization which helps the community learn from each other. Several refugees have backgrounds where they had formal employment that could contribute to the Security and Revenue of their new country.

Inclusion of refugees in host country gives them support.

This year, 2023, the theme for World Refugee Day is “Hope away from home”. WRD celebration this year is focused on building a world that always has the inclusion of refugees. Inclusion of refugees in the communities where they have found safety after escaping conflict and persecution is considered the most efficient way of providing them with support in rebuilding their lives and enabling them to contribute to the improvement of the countries hosting them. It also prepares them to return to their countries of origin to rebuild it when it is safe and voluntary.


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